Earls will partner Welsh centre Jamie Roberts while O'Gara lines out with Mike Blair the Scot who replaced Tomas O'Leary and Simon Shaw will pack down with O'Connell.
For his part, Willemse includes 11 of the players that were part of Griquas' Vodacom Cup-winning side.
Lions: Lee Byrne (Ospreys/Wales), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Ireland), Keith Earls (Munster/Ireland), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales); Ronan O'Gara (Munster/Ireland), Mike Blair (Edinburgh/Scotland); Andrew Sheridan (Sales Sharks/England), Matthew Rees (Scarlets/Wales), Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales), Simon Shaw (London Wasps/England), Paul O'Connell (Munster/Ireland - captain), Joe Worsley (London Wasps/England), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues/Wales).
Replacements: Lee Mears (Bath/England), Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England), Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales), Stephen Ferris (Ulster/Ireland), Mike Phillips (Ospreys/Wales), Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales), Riki Flutey (London Wasps/England).
Royal XV: Russell Jeacocks; Egon Seconds, Deon van Rensburg, Hanno Coetzee, Bjorn Basson; Naas Olivier, Sarel Pretorius; Jonathan Mokuena, Devon Raubenheimer, Wilhelm Koch, Jacques Lombaard, Rudi Mathee, Bees Roux, Rayno Barnes, Albertus Buckle.
Replacements: Pellow van der Westhuizen, Stef Roberts, Rynard Landman, RW Kember, Jacques Coetzee, Riaan Viljoen, Jovan Bowles.